Many states have laws requiring motorists to keep a safe distance when passing bicycles on the road. Where these laws exist, the distance is usually three feet. Some places require more. There’s no doubt that keeping a reasonable distance is necessary for safety. The question is how much these bicycle clearance laws help.
Inadequate clearance is a factor in a relatively small proportion of bicycle accidents. Visibility problems and reckless disregard for cyclists are bigger factors. Lack of clearance can be a cause of rear-end collisions, which are especially likely to cause serious injury. Fortunately, this type of accident isn’t very common.
Enforcement is another difficulty. How often will a police officer notice that a car is passing a bike too closely? If the officer does notice, how likely is the incident to result in a ticket? The law is most likely to come into play when there is an accident. Failure to maintain required clearance can help establish that a motorist is at fault.
What is sufficient clearance?
Intuitively, the distance required for safety should increase as the speed limit goes up. However, country roads with lower speeds can be the most dangerous. They often have poorly maintained shoulders, and a cyclist may need to swerve to avoid a pothole. If a car is passing too closely, this could have deadly consequences.
Cyclists shouldn’t cling to the very edge of the road to maximize clearance. Doing that gives them nowhere to go if they encounter a bad spot in the pavement. They’re actually safer if they have some buffer space toward the edge, even if they’re closer to vehicles.
As with many situations, laws by themselves aren’t enough to make people safer. Motorists need to be aware of bicycles in the road and give them a safe berth. Cyclists need to stay as visible as possible and avoid unpredictable behavior. Clearance laws serve as a reminder, but they may not do much more than that.
If you’ve been involved in an accident while on a bicycle, contact Mr. Brustin to find out what your options are.
Rolling Stop Law
The “Idaho stop” or rolling stop law for cyclists has been pervasively spreading across the United States over the past year. However, while this is great news for cyclists, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for local governments with perhaps different cycling laws to have a voice. This is just what Colorado was concerned with when the rolling stop rolled on up to the doors of state government.
However, unlike other states that have allowed it, Colorado took a more cautious route. They approved the rolling stop for cyclists but ultimately left setting restrictions on speed and implementation up to the local communities in the state.
Colorado is already quite friendly to cyclists, and in that regard, a number of cities already have their own cycling laws on the rolling stop. Furthermore, the state government recognizes that not every intersection is right for it.
This new law allows for communities to opt-in to adopt the Idaho stop for their community as well as regulate what is considered a “reasonable speed” to roll on through. This comes after a failed bill from 2017 that had addressed the same issue but ultimately failed due to conflicts with cyclist laws that had already been put into place in popular Colorado cycling cities.
Around the Country
This sets a great precedent for other states considering the issue of rolling stops for cyclists. It shows that this issue can be shot down if it conflicts with other community laws, but by offering it as a more opt-in affair, it can be adapted for the whole state.
Unfortunately, while this makes it safer for many cyclists, accidents will still happen. If you have been in a cycling accident and need a lawyer to represent you who understand your pain, contact us today. Let Gary Brustin, a fellow cyclist, and his law office come to your aid.
According to the Chicago Tribune, bike laws will be changing in the state of Illinois just in time for the new year. House Bill 1784 goes into effect on January 1, 2018 and will allow a motorist to “overtake and pass to the left of a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a portion of a highway designated as a no-passing zone.” At first glance, Illinois’ new legislation appears to ignore the safety of bicyclists in favor of reducing travel time for motorists.
However, according to TheXRadio, three circumstances must be present when a motorist can legally pass a cyclist under the new law; “(1) the bicycle is traveling at a speed of less than half of the posted speed limit; (2) the driver is able to overtake and pass the bicycle without exceeding the posted speed limit; and (3) there is sufficient distance to the left of the centerline.”
Additionally, Peoria Public Radio asserts that the new law, also known as P.A 100-0359, “clarifies that cyclists can ride on the shoulder of the road” and drivers must still adhere to Illinois’ current state law requiring motorists to maintain at least three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle when passing.
Extremely low temperatures and slippery road conditions illustrate what the roads of Illinois feel and look like during the Winter. Consequently, only the most avid cyclists who use their bicycle to get to their destination regardless of the weather or road conditions will be testing House Bill 1784 this winter. The majority of cyclists and motorists won’t feel the effects of the changes until March or April when most cyclists pull their bikes out of the garage for the first time this year.
The full consequences of the new law will not be felt until the summer when children and young kids are on break from school ride their bikes in their neighborhoods all day long. If you enjoy riding your bike on the shoulder of the road be extra careful this year. If you have any questions regarding the new law or if you ever find yourself injured contact us!
Just when you think bicycling law is making great strides, there comes another complication that confuses things not only in the eyes of the law but that of the public. This latest complication is the advent of e-bikes. In almost every way, an e-bike is the same as a regular bicycle. It simply has an electric motor that allows the bicycle to reach occasionally faster speeds, but never above 30 miles per hour.
Unfortunately, the addition of a motor complicates things. Is it a bicycle? Is it a moped? Does it use the bike lane or does it travel on regular roadways? In many cities, no one really knows and it creates dangerous situations for cyclists and complicated matters for law enforcement.
However, the classification of e-bikes varies not just on a state level, but on a city level. Some cities see them as mopeds and demand they are ridden as such while others classify them as bicycles. In many more cities, there are simply no rules at all for them. While e-bikes can be a great jumping in point for new cyclists, it becomes a not-so-great situation when the riders don’t know in what place they fit. If they travel on roads and get into an accident, what then? The driver may argue they shouldn’t have been there. The same can be said for if they use a bike lane.
The key is to know where your city stands before riding. Some cities make it simple while others without laws for them leave it up to the rider’s choice. If you have been in an accident on an e-bike and find the law being difficult, you should talk over your options with a lawyer. For those in the Los Angeles area, contact us today.
The city of Brotherly Love has had a problem for quite some time – traffic-related accidents. The city suffers over 100 traffic-related fatalities a year, and for quite awhile now, no one has been doing anything about it. However, its new Vision Zero action plan intends to completely eliminate traffic fatalities by 2030.
While this action plan has quite a few key components, including reducing speed in the very specific zones that local residents know are responsible for the majority of fatalities, but one of the most important factors is returning power and safety to local cyclists.
Since 2012, the people responsible for the final decisions on all bike lanes in the city have not been the safety experts and engineers like in other cities, but the politicians of the city council. As bike lanes take away a lane of traffic to ensure the safety of cyclists, the construction of new bicycle lanes has dramatically slowed since 2012 while the cycling population has only increased.
What this new action plan intends to do is to return the power back to the engineers and prioritize bicycle lanes in the city’s high-crash concentration areas. This, combined with the proposed widespread public education campaign spells a brighter future for both the cyclists and the pedestrians of Philly that put themselves at risk every day stepping onto a street.
While Philadelphia’s Vision Zero Plan is an ambitious plan, even by 2030, accidents will still happen. They may not have as high of a fatality rate, but injuries will still occur. If you have been injured while riding your bicycle, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Gary Brustin can do for you.
As Max Wasserman of The Daily indirectly noted back in late July 2017, distracted driving isn’t just something that plagues motorists and pedestrians. In places all across the country, it’s having a negative impact on cyclists as well. For further proof about the wide-spread nature of this problem, check out the letters New York Times’ Editor, Dean Baquet, received in early August 2017. They too tell the tale of what daily distractions are doing to this country, beyond the rising accident statistics.
There’s the physical and psychological damage cyclists experience to contend with as well. In June 2017, Reuters’ published the results of a bicycle accident study conducted in our own State of California. It clearly showed that medical related expenses alone may cost cycling enthusiasts thousands of dollars per accident. Of course, that estimation doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the incidents’ true cost, which often includes loss of future wages, bouts of anxiety and permanent disabilities.
For example, did you know that people involved in bicycle accident may find themselves diagnosed with PTSD? It’s true and such occurrences are widely noted by Family Doctors. Those cyclists unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with the condition may suffer irreparably damaged relationships as well as lifelong battles against giving in to depression, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts.
As such, it is imperative that our nation’s governing bodies consider implementing measures designed to do more than just penalize distracted drivers. They must ensure the safety of cyclists and provide ways to obtain damage relief as well. Unfortunately, not all governing bodies or accident attorneys are well versed in bicycle law. As such, they may not be adequately prepared to fight for the rights of those whose lives have been impacted by bicycle accidents.
At the Law Office of Gary Brustin, we are prepared to represent and fight for the rights of bicycle accident victims as well as their families. To learn more about what we do and why, please contact us directly today.
As cyclists, we crave that wide shoulder of a road. Smooth asphalt makes our tires sing as we share space with our fellow drivers. We know how short and sweet those wide, open shoulders can be, and that shoulder is usually gone before we know it. Given that roads weren’t exactly created for cyclists, we won’t argue with a 2-lane highway, especially if it winds through those sweet mountain views. However, politicians in Montana have proposed a bill that would ban cyclist from riding on roads with little to no shoulder.
In this unprecedented bill proposal, proponents of the ban have created a clear message that safe motor-vehicle skills are not the prerogative. Rather than work towards safer roads for cyclists, ignoring bike path creation altogether and refusing to implement cycling safety overviews to new drivers, this bill favors impatient drivers. Even though the bill’s life span ended in late April of this year, we can’t help but be disappointed in the priorities set forth in this proposal in Montana.
We Need to Support Cyclists
It’s obvious that “Share the Road” messages are not enough for motor vehicles and bicycles to coexist on 2-lane roads, especially when legislation like this arises. We need supporters who listen, advocate and have first-hand experiences with road cycling when cyclists’ needs fall on deaf ears. Drivers need to cycle, and cyclists need to drive in order for a grassroots understanding to unfold. And when accidents happen, we need advocates to fight for our cyclists out on those narrow, 2-lane highways.
Bicycles are subject to all of the same laws as automobiles when riding on the road. For the most part, this is entirely for the safety of the cyclist, but it also helps keep traffic flowing and predictable. Although this has been the longstanding law, there is one key amendment that is taking shape early 2017 in California that could shake things up.
According to California Assembly Bill 1103, cyclists would be allowed to legally treat stop signs as yield signs.
“This bill would … authorize a person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, to cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping, unless safety considerations require otherwise.”
While controversial, this bill may prove to increase the safety of the discerning cyclist if used properly. “The longer it takes for a bicyclist to pass through an intersection, the greater likelihood that they’ll get hit by an oncoming vehicle …” said Jay Obernolte, one of the assemblymen who introduced the new measure.
However, there are some that disagree:
“Joel West, an Oceanside resident who has worked in his community on transportation issues, said the bill is a bad idea that will encourage bad habits. If enacted, he predicts that instead of cautiously riding through stop signs, bicyclists will completely blow through them because the law gives them the discretion to determine what’s safe.”
No matter what the verdict is, it is evident that potential revisions are coming to the longstanding laws for cyclists on the road.
Don’t hesitate to contact Gary Brustin with any questions regarding local cycling laws.
You don’t always see a lot of innovation when it comes to bicycle design. Typically, any changes are minor and you probably never see them take off. However, when it comes to a children’s bike, it seems there is a lot more that can be done, something that was demonstrated by an Irvine, California-based company on Shark Tank season eight.
The company, Guardian Bikes, states that their children’s bike isn’t designed for kids. Instead, they are miniature adult bicycles that are designed with cheap cost in mind instead of quality and safety. You can’t really argue with that, all things considered. The CEO Brian Riley goes on to cite a US Consumer Product Safety Commission report that shows over 1,000 children visit the emergency room each day for bicycle-related injuries. This is where their bicycle design comes in.
The Guardian Bike was created for kids ages six to nine who are just graduating from training wheels up to hand brakes. The most innovative part is the Sure Stop brake system that goes to great lengths to prevent common head-over-handlebar accidents. They also feature a frame of high quality, aircraft-grade aluminum that is not only stronger but more lightweight than your typical children’s bike.
Currently, this bike is the only brand on the market that is created with kids in mind rather than just a smaller version of an adult bike. If it takes off, it could mean and even safer ride for children and could foster a life-long love of safe bicycling.
Unfortunately, not everyone has taken to safe bicycling, not even adults. Furthermore, even with safety-oriented bikes, accidents still happen. If you have been in a bicycling accident, contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin today to see if your injuries can be covered.